An adviser to Iran’s leader Thursday warned that any U.S. attack on the country would risk a “full-fledged war.”
Hossein Dehghan, a defense minister under Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, told the Associated Press that while “we are not after starting a war… we are not after negotiations for the sake of negotiations either.”
“A limited, tactical conflict can turn into a full-fledged war,” Dehghan said. “Definitely, the United States, the region and the world cannot stand such a comprehensive crisis.”
Dehghan’s comments come after reports that President Donald Trump inquired about attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities, only to be dissuaded by members of his administration. (RELATED: Trump Vetoes Resolution Curbing His Ability To Attack Iran Without Congressional Approval)
Dehghan is seen as a possible presidential candidate in 2021, when Rouhani is term-limited from running again. A self-described “nationalist,” Dehghan said that if elected, any future negotiations with the West, would not include Iran’s nuclear program which he said was a “deterrent” against the nation’s adversaries.
“The Republic of Iran will not negotiate its defensive power… with anybody under any circumstances,” Dehghan told the AP. “Missiles are a symbol of the massive potential that is in our experts, young people and industrial careers.”
U.S. tensions with Iran have escalated throughout Trump’s presidency. He withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal, has imposed harsh sanctions that have crippled the country’s economy and authorized the assassination of Qassim Soleimani, one of the country’s top military leaders who the United States listed as a terrorist. (RELATED: McMaster: ‘Big Mistake’ To Reenter Iran Nuclear Deal)
President-elect Joe Biden has said that he is open to re-entering the deal with Iran, which alleviated sanctions in exchange for the country limiting its uranium enrichment, a key step in developing a nuclear weapon.
But, Dehghan said, a return to the deal is far from guaranteed.
“We do not see a situation in which [the U.S.] buys time to weaken our nation,” he told the AP.
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